As the director of the Carthage Writing Center, Professor Jean Preston believes that writing is one of the most important skills that a college student needs to develop, and her Writing Center Fellows help develop that skill.
“Writing is probably one of the things that most students stress over when coming to college,” Prof. Preston explained. “If we can help them with those projects, help them gain confidence as writers, if we can give them the skills and confidence they need in their writing, that is what we want to focus on.
“Writing goes with them into the professional world, whether it be on Facebook or a blog or a wiki,” she continued. “No matter what matter of communication we have in the future, people need to know how to communicate well.”
The Writing Center hires tutors of various majors and departments. This is so that they can properly address the differing writing styles that different disciplines require. The main function of the Writing Center consists of one-on-one tutoring sessions. The sessions are scheduled in 50-minute blocks and can be scheduled online, over the phone or by walking into the Writing Center to make an appointment.
Prof. Preston says that the tutors do not fix or edit a student’s paper. Instead, they teach the student how to find and fix the errors themselves. They also help them make sure that they have a cohesive thesis, use proper support, have correct citations and use a strong voice.
“Students can come to the Writing Center at any step in the writing process,” said Prof. Preston. “Any time between developing a thesis statement and proofing a final draft, the Writing Center can help.”
The Writing Center also does classroom workshops upon faculty request and does presentations during faculty in-services to teach professors about teaching writing-intensive courses and how professors can be supported by the Writing Center. There is also an English as a Second Language option for students and professors.
Because the Writing Center is certified by the College Reading and Learning Association, all Writing Center Fellows are required to adhere to specific training standards upon being hired by the Center.
“When you teach someone, you become a better writer,” said Prof. Preston of her Writing Fellows. “The Fellows learn to deal with all people at all stress levels. They learn to work with a team. They learn to communicate with others. The people skills that they gain are just really fantastic. They also become good time managers. I always tell my students when they first apply that they have to remember that their busiest time as students is when we are busiest at the Writing Center.”
“Carthage really gives students a lot of support,” Prof. Preston concluded. “It’s not just the Writing Center, but the Writing Center is a shining example of it.”